Is There Such a Thing as Holy Anger?

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by Robin MacKinley

Anger, we all have bouts with it, then we’ll justify why we have it. Some people will say “that’s just the way I am.” Some Christians say that they have “holy anger.” The question we want to answer today is this; is there such a thing as holy anger?

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  James 1:19

My wife told me recently that I shy away from conflict compared to how I handled it in my younger years. Back in those days, I would hit it headon. I told her that I am getting wiser in my latter years.

In the past when I hit conflict headon, I would often get myself in trouble because of it. I am learning to listen, you know, as in to not speak. Listening gives others a chance to say their piece.  

I think that maybe James should have said quick to listen, slow to speak, and plenty of time to think about it. That is the approach I have tried to put in place. I’m not sure how much I have accomplished doing it that way. But I can tell you that life certainly has been better for me. And to the people I’ve tried to make my point with.

Next there is the other thing that James mentioned. You know, the anger thing. I’ve heard people say it’s ok to get angry. Of course, some say they are exhibiting godly anger or holy anger.  

Who Has The Right To Exhibit Holy Anger? 

There is only one that I know of who can truly have godly anger, and that would be God.  The Lord is not condoning anger in this verse. Look what it says in the next verse,

Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:20

When we read verses 19 and 20, it is obvious that anger and righteousness are definitely on different ends of the spectrum. I know there are times that you will get angry, we all do. When that happens though, we must get past it quickly.

In the book of Ephesians, we are given a time limit as to how long we can be angry. If you let it control you or if you hang on to it too long, look out! You will be opening yourself up to the devil.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27

So the question we are looking to answer is this. Is there such a thing as holy anger? I’d say the answer is possibly yes, but not for us. Only God has the right to get angry.

For you and me, anger will happen. When it does, we must deal with it and get over it quickly. We also must avoid it as much as we can.  

The Alternative to Anger 

In Galatians 5, there are two lists. The first, When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear. Then there are 15 things mentioned that we must stay away from and one of them is anger.

The second list is the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is the goal of life list for every Christian.

Lord, help us to curb all anger so our lives produce the righteousness you desire.

About the Author:

Robin McKinleyRobin, with his wife Cindy, became children’s evangelists early in their ministry. They ministered to children full time for 8 years. During that time they developed several children’s stories which were told with visuals and puppets.

Robin recently turned two of those stories into children’s books. One is called “The Contest,” a book about the Fruit of the Spirit, and the other is called “Twas the Night of Christmas”.  He has also authored 5 volumes of devotional books called, 3 Minutes Alone with God. Each entry is a product of his personal biblical Journaling.

These and his other writings are available on his website called Christian Perspectives at When you visit this site, you can sign-up for newly written devotions as they come out which will be emailed to you.

Presently Robin is the pastor of Calvary Christian Center in Pottstown, PA. He is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He and his wife make their home in Birdsboro, Pa. He also serves as the president of the local ministerium. He and Cindy have two married sons and four grandchildren.

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